Alex O'Loughlin Gets Shirtless and Sexy in The Back-up Plan
May 12, 2010 (Updated Jun 1, 2011)
Review by Marie Dragonfire
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Funny and entertaining overall. Lopez and O'Loughlin.
Cons:Predicable. Some gross moments. Flat characters.
The Bottom Line: The Back-up Plan has issues, but it manages to be entertaining overall.
I tend to like romantic comedies in general even though they are predictable. There are some romantic comedies that I don't like, but I will usually give one a chance. I decided that I was interested in The Back-up Plan after seeing previews and I just got a chance to see it.
Recommend this product?
Since she hasn't had luck in finding a man she wants a lasting relationship with, Zoe decides to be artificially inseminated to have a baby. She has a chance encounter with a guy right after she leaves the doctor's office and then runs into Stan a few more times. She doesn't want to date anyone because of what she is trying to do, but he is persistent and they start to date just as Zoe discovers that she is pregnant.
Things are straight forward with The Back-up Plan, though there are attempts to add various complications into what is going on. The movie is very much like a typical romantic comedy even with the twist of Zoe being pregnant when the relationship with Stan begins. That does add one or two surprises to what is going on, though things are still predictable overall. People that don't care for romantic comedies in general probably won't like this one and will want to pick a different movie.
I think the humor used in The Back-up Plan works and the movie ends up being pretty funny overall. Some of the humor is a bit gross, specifically in regard to some pregnancy things and a home birth, and may upset some viewers instead of making them laugh. Other things done for humor depend on stereotypes that aren't flattering, mostly to pregnant women and how they handle things while pregnant. The movie made me laugh many times and I think the humor works overall, though I can see how it could upset or even offend some viewers. The type of comedy used isn't going to work for everyone.
When The Back-up Plan begins, Zoe has already decided to use artificial insemination to have a baby. The movie actually starts with her in the doctor's office as the procedure is finishing while she is obsessing over how he toenails look. While she is staying still after the procedure, a voice over shares her thoughts that help to explain how she came to her decision. It is a little later before she finds out that she is pregnant, but most of the movie deals with her pregnancy in some way. There are a lot of conversations related to it and several things shown, including things during a doctor's visit and a home birth, that are somewhat graphic. Some of those things might disturb some viewers.
Zoe and Stan meet very early in the movie and their relationship start developing after that. They have a few chance meetings, he tracks her down and they spend some time together, and then they start dating. Things do progress fast for them and even with an attempt to throw in some complications, it doesn't take long for them to get more serious. It seems like Stan moves in with her, though I honestly can't remember if that was explained or not. He is just there. There are sexual situations between them, including one almost sex scene in which Zoe has a vocal orgasm before they have done much of anything. They aren't shown actually having sex, but it is made very clear that they do. Stan is shirtless without his shirt more than once and he looks really good in those scenes. Zoe does show a little skin as well, though not as much. The word that rhymes with luck is used once. That, along with the sexual situations, help to get the movie rated PG-13.
Zoe has a few issues that she has to try to work through related to men and relationships. Those issues are part of her reasons for making her decision to have a child alone despite her denials. She is nice and likeable overall, though she could have been developed more. She does end up seeming a bit irrational at times. Jennifer Lopez is fine with the part. Linda Lavin turns up in a few short scenes as her grandmother. Tom Bosley plays Arthur, the man that Nana has been engaged to for more than twenty years.
Stan runs a farm outside the city. He makes cheese that he sells at a farmer's market and hopes to open some kind of gourmet shop in the city. He has his own issues with relationships and he is freaked out by things with Zoe a few different times. He is rather flat considering that he is one of the main characters. Alex O'Loughlin does well with the part. Anthony Anderson turns up in a few scenes as a guy that Stan starts talking to about some of what is freaking him out. The character really adds nothing and didn't need to be in the movie.
Mona is Zoe's best friend. Mona has children and isn't that supportive at first about Zoe having a baby. Mona is very outspoken. She really doesn't add much to what is going on other than to point some things out to Zoe every so often. Michaela Watkins isn't anything special in the part. Clive is another one of Zoe's friends who I think also works in the pet store she owns along with Daphne. Neither Clive or Daphne are around much and they really don't add anything to the movie either. Robert Klein turns up in a few scenes as Dr. Harris, Zoe's doctor.
Jennifer Lopez - Zoe
Alex O'Loughlin - Stan
Alan Poul - Director
The Back-up Plan has issues, but I thought it was entertaining overall. It isn't that bad and it works as a decent romantic comedy. Fans of the cast or people who like romantic comedies may find something to like about the movie.
I would have rated this one three and a half stars if I had the option. Since I don't have that option, I decided to go with three stars. I just didn't think it was good enough to round up to four.
*This review was originally posted after I saw the movie in the theater. It is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.
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